A full version with recipes can be found at the Slow Travel Berlin website. more...
Full version with recipes can be found at Slow Travel Berlin. more...
I've been a big fan of Felicity Cloake's Perfect column for the Guardian ever since it started. more...
Pork belly doesn't seem to have become quite so fashionable in Germany as it is in the UK - luckily that means it is still very cheap here.
A good side dish here is stir-fried or steamed pak choi with garlic and I like to serve my apple and ginger chutney alongside.
Serves 6 as a main course, with side dish
1.5kg piece of pork belly, bones removed, skin scored
2 large onions
2 bulbs of fennel
3 tbsp hoi san sauce
100ml sake or other rice wine
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 cloves garlic
Heat the oven to 220°C, or even a little hotter.
Mix the ginger and fennel seeds together. Place the pork skin-side-down and massage the ginger and fennel seeds into the meat (not the skin) getting as much of it as you can into all the little crevices.
Turn the pork over and dry the skin as much as you can with a clean cloth. This will probably sound strange, but I use a hairdryer to get it really dry, which works well. The dryer the skin, the better the skin will crackle. Rub a generous amount of salt into the scores in the skin.
Roast the pork, skin-side-up for about half an hour until you can see the skin beginning to crisp in places. Turn the temperature down to 180°C and continue roasting slowly for another hour.
Whilst the pork is roasting, chop the onions and fennel into thin slices and put them mixed up together in the bottom of a roasting tin. Peel and crush the garlic and mix with the hoi san and sake.
Remove the pork from the oven and carefully lift it out of the roasting tin. Scatter the chopped vegetables in the bottom of the roasting tin and pour over the sake sauce. Return the pork to the roasting tin, sitting on top of the vegetables and roast for another hour. Check occasionally that there is still liquid in the bottom of the roasting tin - if it is looking dry, top up with a little more sake, or water.
When cooked, the pork meat should be barely pink and the skin crackled*. Take the pork out of the oven and allow to rest for five minutes or so, uncovered, before carving. Cut into slices about 2cm wide, following the score lines on the skin and serve with the cooked onions and fennel, spooning over the liquid in the bottom of the tin.
* If your meat is cooked, but your crackling uncrackled, slice the skin off the meat after cooking and whilst the meat is resting, put the skin under a hot grill for a few minutes.